Misha (USA, NBJ) | Student voice | KAI Japanese Language School in Tokyo, Japan

Misha (USA, NBJ)

  • Nationality: United States of America
  • Graduation date: June, 2019
  • Place of employment: Communications industry, Software engineer

On Job Hunting

MishaDuring one of the business Japanese classes, an agent from a third-party job search company came and gave us mock interviews. Afterwards, the agent sent me an e-mail, saying she would be interested in helping me find work. I accepted the offer, and thus began my official job hunt. Soon enough, I was matched with my first company.
After passing a initial interview with the CEO and a second interview with several engineers, I managed to receive an offer letter. However, the whole process was so quick, I didn't really feel like I knew the company yet.
In the past, I had a similar experience where I joined a company quickly, thinking things would just work out. But the environment there was not at all what I had imagined. Wanting to avoid repeating the same mistake, I requested a further interview. As a result, I went through a total of four interviews.
During the latter two interviews, I was able to ask detailed questions about the work process, see actual production code, and clarify whether or not my level of Japanese would be sufficient. In the end, I had a few requirements concerning the content of the work. The company accepted all of them, and I was able to convince myself that it was a place I wanted to be. And after choosing so carefully, I'm more certain than ever that this is a company I'll be happy at.

On Japanese Education

I studied at Kai all the way from the beginner level. Japanese has a ton of moving parts, especially when it comes to kanji and idioms. Since the language is broken down into such miniscule bits of information, it's easy to get lost and forget things. My conclusion is that "learning Japanese" is nowhere near as hard as "not forgetting Japanese".
In order to not forget new information, I would normally attend class for four hours, and follow that up with another four hours of pure review time. I mostly focused on kanji, readings, pitch accent, and verb transitivity. Although I personally used an app to organize everything, at the end of the day, if you can find a style of review that works for you, you're set.

Future Plans

I spent the last two years studying Japanese intensely. My number one concern when I was looking for work, was to assure that it was an environment in which I could continue to use Japanese. Given that requirement, how quickly everything fell into place for me was incredibly lucky.
I'm finally about to start working again, but I don't really have any plans beyond that. Having already once transplanted myself to a completely different country, I don't think it's possible to predict the future whatsoever. From here on out, all I can really say is that I'll play it by ear. If I'm happy to live and work here, then I don't think anything will change for a while.